According to estimates from the World Health Organisation (WHO), more than 422 million people worldwide are living with diabetes. Diabetes is a condition which can exist in two forms. In the first form also known as Type 1 diabetes (T1D), the immune system of the body attacks the cells in the pancreas preventing it from producing enough hormones to break down glucose. This type of diabetes accounts for nearly ten percent of the diabetes cases. Scientist are still trying to figure out ways of preventing it. Type 2 diabetes (TD2) is another form of diabetes in which the body does not know the ways of using the hormone produced. It can be reversed through changes in the lifestyle such as increase in exercise, weight loss and others.
Currently, T1D is managed the best by balancing the doses to balance the blood sugar level. However this method takes time to act which can be problematic for those belonging to high risk cases. Moreover, patients with hypoglycemia and less awareness about the disease, may not notice when their blood sugar drops dangerously low. Scientists across the world have been trying to find out a cure to free the T1D patients from their dependence on conventional injections and from dangerous situations where their blood sugar levels drop really low.
California based company ViaCyte began trial for PEC-Direct, an implant that grows the specific hormone producing cells using stem cells in order to treat T1D patients. Success of it would free people from risky situations when their levels drop low. Under the trial, two T1D patients were implanted with company’s PEC-Direct device containing cells built from stem cells and designed to mature inside human body into specialised pancreas cell which the immune system destroys in those with T1D. Clinical trial investigator Jeremy Pettus from the University of California, San Diego, said that PEC-Direct islet cell replacement therapy helps patients with the most critical need.
Freeing T1D patients from constant injections hasn’t been an easy task. Recently researchers from Finland managed to develop a vaccine for T1D that would go for clinical trials by 2018. ViaCyte’s device is another addition to such discovery. Prior to clinical trial conducted last week, PEC-Direct implants were tested on 19 patients having diabetes. Although it provided desired islet cells, however the limited number of stem cells wasn’t designed to treat the condition.
Within three months from now, when the cells mature in the two patients with PEC-Direct implants, they’ll be able to take the place of injections by releasing the specific hormone automatically when needed. If it is successful, then T1D patients would have to take immunosuppressant drugs to ensure their bodies don’t reject the new cells. James Shapiro from University of Alberta, Canada mentioned to “New Scientist” that discovering limitless source of human endocrine hormone producing cells would be a major step forward in the path to identifying a cure for diabetes.
United Access Medical provides access to a wide array of safe treatments including Stem Cell Therapy, Acupuncture, Physiotherapy, and Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber Treatment. If you would like to know more about which treatments suits your condition the best, please feel free to contact us and one of our Patient Representatives shall get back to you soonest.